Obama: I'll Have To Destroy The Consensus To Build It

The promise and hope of Barack Obama is that he's a kind of breathing ebony and ivory living in perfect harmony who will help us heal our national divisions after a period of extreme political divisiveness. I could never support Barack Obama because as I have said repeatedly, I consider jihad and moral relativism to be flip sides of the same coin, equally threats to our liberty, and he is on the wrong side of both those fights. Nevertheless, like just about everyone else in America, I want to like him, and for a time I harbored a hope that his election, while representing a serious weakening of America, might at least carry the silver lining of racial healing and a step forward for civility when social questions are discussed.

Look at his record and his promises, though. Not only is Obama not a bridge-builder, on some of our thorniest issues he threatens to destroy hard-won public consensus.

On race, for example, I won't rehash the questionable company Obama's kept for more than 20 years (Though I will note the latest instance. Jiminy!). It is possible --though not flattering-- that Obama joined Trinity United for street cred purposes more than anything else. But it is extremely troubling that as state legislator Obama directed up to $225,000 in grants to Fr. Michael Pfleger, whose principal crusade is for reparations for slavery. Where is the intrepid reporter who will ask Mr. Obama if he supports reparations? Will reparations "heal our divisions"?

Then there's Mr. Obama on abortion. There's no denying a culture gap between opponents of abortion and its supporters, but there are some matters we do agree on. For example:
  • The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. As the name suggests, this 2002 law means that a baby who happens to survive his abortion gets to live --he won't be strangled or left in a trash can to die (as happened routinely prior to the act's passage). The Senate passed this act unanimously (with two likely pro-life senators not voting), 98-0. Barack Obama voted against a similar measure in the Illinois legislature, when even NARAL wasn't opposed.

  • The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Passed by 64 members of the Senate (with Biden, Edwards & Kerry not voting to preserve their viability) including Majority Leader Tom Daschle, upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States and supported by more than 70% of the American people. Barack Obama opposes the ban. In a speech before Planned Parenthood last year he said:
    [T]here’s a lot at stake in this election, especially for our daughters. To appreciate that all you have to do is review the recent decisions handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States. For the first time in Gonzales versus Carhart, the Supreme Court held—upheld a federal ban on abortions with criminal penalties for doctors. For the first time, the Court’s endorsed an abortion restriction without an exception for women’s health. The decision presumed that the health of women is best protected by the Court—not by doctors and not by the woman herself. That presumption is wrong.
    (Notice too how "precedent" and "settled law" apply only to opinions abortion supporters like? They feel free to tell the Court it's wrong.)

  • The American people and politicians on both sides of the aisle agree on a broad slate of "reasonable limitations" on abortion, including not only the measures above, but parental notification laws, informed consent (such as the Kennedy/Brownback bill working its way through the Senate right now), the Hyde Amendment (prohibiting federal funding of abortion and passed for 30 years with bipartisan support), and shield laws protecting the consciences off doctors and hospitals refusing to participate in abortion. In the divisive abortion debate, these matters are bright lights of broad agreement, supported by upwards of 70% of the American people, passed by state legislatures and/or Congress, signed by governors and presidents and upheld by the Supreme Court.
  • Barack Obama wants to blow all this up. How do I know? Because he supports the Freedom of Choice Act, which will undo all these measures on which most of us agree --including the Born Alive Infants Protection and Partial Birth Abortion Ban. He is a co-sponsor of the bill, and has vowed repeatedly to sign it as President. Supporters of FOCA like to call it, somewhat benignly, a "codification of Roe," but its actual effect will be to undo these consensus measures. As Planned Parenthood says on their website:
    The legislation would invalidate existing and future laws that interfere with or discriminate against the exercise of the rights protected. It also would provide an individual aggrieved by a violation of the act a private right of civil action in order to obtain appropriate relief.
  • Similarly, Obama opposes DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, even though it passed 85-14 in the Senate, 342-67 in the House, and was signed into law by President Clinton. Since then, some 40 states have passed state versions of the same act. In a letter to the Gay & Lesbian community, he recently promised:
    Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate.
It is ludicrous to think such a radical is capable of building consensus on anything. On the contrary, he pledges to undo consensus where it exists, and to run roughshod over any opposition. If he's slightly more polite than Henry Waxman or Jeremiah Wright as he does so, you'll pardon me if I don't swoon.

Update: Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) declines to endorse Obama on precisely these grounds.
Boren, the lone Democrat in Oklahoma's congressional delegate, said that while Obama has talked about working with Republicans, "unfortunately, his record does not reflect working in a bipartisan fashion."